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Champions Tusker held by Sofapaka

Tusker Cercidy Okeyo (right) vies with Sofapaka's Moses Odhiambo during their SportPesa Premier League match on April 9, 2017 at Thika Municipal Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Ten-man Tusker and Sofapaka were forced to battle for a 2-2 draw in their fourth SportPesa Premier League match played at the treacherous, damp, soft pitch of the Thika Municipal Stadium Sunday.

Thika United achieved a 1-0 win over Zoo Kericho at the same grounds with Joel Tata scoring the only goal of the match in the 25th minute.

At Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, Posta Rangers beat Western Stima 1-0 while Ulinzi Stars saw off Bandari 2-1 in another encounter.

Despite fine weather for much of Sunday, it had been raining in Thika, just like it has been in many parts of the country, and the playing surface was one muddy, bumpy pretence of a pitch with small mounds of grass sparsely distributed across it.

Still, the four sets of players played on, oblivious of the perils of running around the wet, soggy and slippery surface.

Mixed with the players’ sweat, the brown mud kicked up during the first game provided an unpleasant contrast more so against the sparkling white jerseys worn by Sofapaka and Thika.

By half time, the air was filled with the scent of rain, and the clouds gathered as of threatening to open and bring even more damage to the already submerged pitch.

Sofapaka however became direct beneficiaries of the murky grounds, as they went ahead just seconds into the match through Wanok Pate.

The ball was been launched from the midfield where it bounced awkwardly once and then onto the feet of Pate who turned it home with one strike of his right foot.

Tusker then responded 25 minutes later through former AFC Leopards forward Mike Khamati who headed in from a corner in the 25th minute to open his 2017 account.

A moment of confusion at the stroke of half time saw Kenyan international Allan Wanga net his first and Tusker’s third goal of the season with a header that evaded Matthias Kigonya’s hands narrowly.

Moses Odhiambo equalised for Batoto ba Mungu in the 48th minute, rising high to connect with and head home a cross from Paul Odhiambo.

James Situma was sent off in the 63rd minute of the match after collecting a second yellow card.

Inspite of the numerical disadvantage, Wanga had another goal denied wrongly for offside in the 87th minute and with that draw, Tusker succeeded in getting their unbeaten record on course after their disappointing start to this season.

This match left the pitch in such a horrible state that by the time Thika and Zoo Kericho took to the pitch, the middle part of the pitch was nothing but a mass of loose, damp soil.

Nothing was however going to stop the hosts and they maintained dominance over the league debutants throughout the match.


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